The GRAAB Coalition of Bradley County is adding healthy lifestyles and substance abuse prevention to October’s list of costumes, candy and horror films with its 31 Days of Prevention.
The event is an effort to heighten awareness of substance abuse and addiction recovery, Going Respectfully Against Addictive Behaviors Coalition executive director Tanya Southerland said.
“Thirty-one Days of Prevention was originally created from a group of us talking about Red Ribbon Week and how important it is to the community,” Southerland said. “We wanted to expand on that so we threw the first event together in a matter of like, two weeks.”
This is the third year the organization has joined with its partners in prevention to host the monthlong event.
The main focus is drugs and alcohol prevention with the overarching message for youth and adults alike to make safe, positive choices. The program includes multiple events held on a weekly basis throughout October.
Items highlighted on the event calendar include: LifeCare employee health fair, Wednesday; Pink Ribbon Bowl at Walker Valley High School, Thursday; information table at the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library, Oct. 10 and 22; information table at the Cleveland YMCA, Oct. 14 and 23; Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 23 through 31; CASA Moonlight Walk for Melisha Gibson, Oct. 24; and the YMCA’s Fall Festival, Oct. 25.
Southerland emphasized more days are available for events proposed by organizations, churches, businesses and community members.
Added to this year’s lineup of events are classroom visits to Blythe-Bower Elementary.
Southerland said five days will be taken out of October to address each of the K-5 grades. The focus will be on making good life choices.
She explained giving students good examples, stories and role models to follow is vital.
“I think there are just so many obstacles in the lives of youth today, whether it be the stressors — financial, family— or the examples set by celebrities who say they are great, but then they put a song out about drugs,” Southerland said. “They are constantly bombarded by individuals who live certain lifestyles and make millions.”
City Mayor Tom Rowland and County Mayor D. Gary Davis recently sat down to sign a proclamation highlighting the various prevention events set for October.
“Whereas, the health and well-being of our children today is fundamental to the future progress and welfare of Cleveland and Bradley County citizens,” the proclamation read. “... Whereas, the GRAAB Coalition of Bradley County works in collaboration with city and county agencies to educate citizens in the prevention and treatment of substance abuse.”
The proclamation closed with the mayors encouraging the community to get involved with the various events.
“... Urge all citizens, agencies and organizations interested in a healthier future for our children to unite in the observance of activities that promote the necessity of a year-round lifestyle of wise decision-making as it relates to substance abuse prevention, [etc.]” the proclamation read. “... To secure a healthier future for our children and our community.”
An event kickoff will be held in conjunction with the BCSO’s National Night Out Against Crime tonight. The event will take place at 7 p.m. in the North Cleveland Church of God Gymnasium. Included in the activities will be home security vendors, door prizes, snacks and drinks.
Those interested in learning more about the 31 Days of Prevention or volunteering can visit www.graabcoalition.com or call 423-472-5800.